Working Papers on Global Migration and Transnational Politics

The Global Migration & Transnational Politics project at CGS was a MacArthur Foundation funded project that investigated how political dynamics around the globe have been transformed by new patterns of human mobility and the development of innovative transnational social networks. Below is a selection of working papers on the issue.

 

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Abstracts

“Global Migration and Transnational Politics: A Conceptual Framework”
Working Paper No. 1
Terrence Lyons and Peter Mandaville

This paper outlines an analytical framework to examine questions regarding the ramifications of global migration on transnational politics. As globalization has generated new forms of political participation of increasingly mobile and transnational populations, the authors analyze how this has transformed homeland governments’ politics. They argue that these political processes, despite their particularist territorial and normative content, occur in multiple localities due to the complex actor constellation.

 

“Mediating the Diaspora Space: Charting the Changing Nature of Irish-America in an Age of Globalisation”
Working Paper No. 2
F. Cochrane

The author looks at how Irish migration trends have evolved in light of globalization and economic and social changes in Ireland. He argues that these factors have generated a new form of Irish emigrants whose characteristics differ from the traditional diaspora communities. The fact that Irish leave their country for the United States voluntarily, rather than compulsorily – as seen in the 19th and 20th century – creates less demand for support groups abroad, prevalent in the past.

 

“Citizenship à la Carte”
Working Paper No. 3
D. Fitzgerald

From a comprehensive perspective, immigrants are also emigrants, leaving their country of origin for a new destination where they settle. The author of this paper analyzes changes in the relationship of emigrants and their home governments as the latter attempts to negotiate a new form of citizenship. He discusses the limitations and prospects of these reconfigured ties in view of altering the theoretical underpinnings of the nation-state paradigm.

 

“From Visibility to Voice: The Emerging Power of Migrants in Mexican Politics”
Working Paper No. 4
H. Williams

In her paper, Heather Williams looks at the Federación de Clubes Zacatecanos del Sur de California (FCZSC), an umbrella organization of village-based clubs corresponding to locales in the northwest Mexican state of Zacatecas, and argues that this influential federation of Mexican migrants in the U.S. is an instructive showcase to illuminate the formation and negotiation of transnational political identity. She concludes that migrant participation in home country affairs is a new innovative practice of 21st century democracy.

 

“From ‘Refugee Warriors’ to ‘Returnee Warriors’ – Militant Homecoming in Afghanistan and Beyond”
Working Paper No. 5
K. B. Harpviken

Certain refugees, when returning to their home countries, do not necessarily reintegrate peacefully, but engage in violent action. Kristian B. Harpviken illuminates the phenomenon of “refugee warrior” by looking at thirty years of armed conflict in Afghanistan and examining three explanatory variables: an enabling environment, ideology, and organization. His objective is to help generate a comprehensive analytical framework of this trend and establish an agenda for future research.

 

“From Irredentism to Diaspora Politics: States and Transborder Ethnic Groups in Eastern Europe”
Working Paper No. 6
Myra A. Waterbury

This paper looks at Eastern European transborder and ethnic diasporas politics in the post-Cold War decades. The author argues that governments in this region implement policies that are often driven by the nation-building interests of homeland state elites and therefore have the potential to exacerbate regional and inter-ethnic tensions. She illustrates these dynamics through a discussion of two policy areas – dual and preferential citizenship, and packages of special benefits targeted specifically to regional diasporas; and their implications for regional stability and the situation of ethnic minorities in Eastern Europe.

 

“Does Integration Encourage Reconciliatory Attitudes among Diasporas?”
Working Paper No. 7
Jonathan Hall and Roland Kostic

This study examines the effects of hostland integration on the moderation of attitudes of conflict-generated diasporas. Using unique survey data of diasporas from the former Yugoslavia and living in Sweden, their study highlights the complex relationship between the integration of diasporas and their reconciliatory attitudes. The findings indicate that structural integration, through the mechanism of a higher sense of coherence, empowers diasporas to contextualize war-related experiences and make sense of daily life, as well as to develop optimism about prospects for a common future with other ethnic groups in both the host- and homeland.

 

“Glocal Migration and Transnational Politics: The Case of Senegal”
Working Paper No. 8
Monika Salzbrunn

The increasing migration of Senegalese peasants not only to urban areas, but also to international destinations has reinforced the creation of translocal social spaces. Past research on Senegalese migration has focused on murid trade networks that share job and trade opportunities through their religious ties. In her study, Monika Salzbrunn enlarges the question of religious networks, underlining the will for political change that has unified the followers of different Sufi and Christian groups.

 

“Conditions and Timing of Moderate and Radical Diaspora Mobilization: Evidence from Conflict-Generated Diasporas”
Working Paper No. 9
Maria Koinova

Radical and moderate diaspora activities depend on the stages of conflict, on the timing of events relative to developments in the homeland, and on the diaspora initiatives and actions of host-land governments. Based on extensive research among conflict-generated diasporas — Albanians, Armenians, Lebanese, Serbians, Ukrainians, and Chechens predominantly living in the U.S. —  this paper argues that academics and policy-makers alike need to revisit the notion that diasporas are not likely agents of moderate transnational politics.

 

“The Invention of the Croatian Diaspora: Unpacking the Politics of “Diaspora” During the War in Yugoslavia”
Working Paper No. 10
Francesco Ragazzi

The Croatian “diaspora” is an invention of the 1990’s. This paper highlights several simple yet often overlooked insights about the role of diasporas in international relations and conflicts. It argues that “diasporas” are not agents of international politics. Instead, organizations and institutions representing them take on this role. Yet, they are far from being unitary actors. The author also shows that the label of “diaspora” can be appropriated by a government to push policies that have little to do with the “diaspora,” justifying national policies that would otherwise be considered illegitimate.

 

“A Politics of Place: How Young Muslims Frame Global and Local Events in Online Communication”
Working Paper No. 11
Dorthe Possing

Drawing on empirical material from a broader study that focuses on computer- mediated communication and activism among young, well-educated Danish, American and British Muslim women the paper offers a preliminary analysis of how certain events are used by Muslims to express their sense of belonging. The paper argues that the concept of ”place” and the notion of ”politics of place” are crucial in addressing questions of how we are to understand ideas of belonging among young Muslims living in non-Muslim societies and how such ideas are affected by widespread patterns in communication.

 

“Who Made Uyghurs Visible in the International Arena?: A Hyperlink Analysis”
Working Paper No. 12
Yu-Wen Chen

Hyperlink analysis reveals that most of the organizations prominent in spreading Uyghur news and issues are geographically concentrated in Western Europe and North America. It further illustrates that governments do not play significant roles in Uyghur diasporic politics or networks. Hyperlink analysis, however, cannot detect Uyghur connections, which do not have a virtual presence, such as Uyghurs communities in Central Asia and Turkey. The online maps of Uyghur networks also omit Uyghur links to the Taiwanese independence movement, Tibetan self-determination movement, Chinese dissident networks, as well as worldwide Muslim communities.

 

“Sons of The Yellow Emperor Go Online: The State of the Chinese Digital Diaspora”
Working Paper No. 13
Sheng Ding

In the global information age, an increasing number of the Chinese diaspora have utilized the power of the Internet. The Internet has provided the digital diaspora a platform for building various social networks that create a sense of identity and solidarity from shared traditional Chinese cultural values which are then used to mobilize overseas Chinese to actively participate in a form of global Chinese politics. This paper argues that the transnational activities of the Chinese digital diaspora has simultaneously added to Beijing’s international influence and standing while increasing the political clout of those critical of the communist government, both within and outside the country.

 

“The Transnational Dimensions of Societal Reconciliation”
Working Paper No. 14
Jonathan Hall

This paper examines the case of Post-Dayton Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) and related diaspora populations in Sweden. Past scholarship on diasporas and homeland populations’ ability to end wars and build peace argued that diasporas are believed to fuel homeland conflicts even when local populations favor peace. Contrary to previous expectations, this paper shows that the attitudes of the conflict-generated diaspora population in Sweden are more reconciliatory than those of the homeland population in BiH.

 

“Transnational Homeland Involvement of the US-Based Lebanese Diaspora”
Working Paper No. 15
Nadejda Marinova

Although the Lebanese diaspora has existed for generations, its members have maintained a strong identification with the land of their grandparents and great-grandparents and their homeland connection endures. The institutionalized, transnational political activism of Lebanese-Americans is almost always undertaken by individuals with high levels of education and social standing. This paper advances the argument that diaspora organizations can be the allies of policymakers not only in the homeland, as has been traditionally emphasized in the diaspora literature, but also in host countries that wish to promote stability and economic development.

 

“Beyond Extremism and Ideology: The Unanticipated Constructive Roles played by North African Islamists and Jihadis in Contemporary British Society”
Working Paper No. 16
Jonathan Githens-Mazer

A great deal of current British political debate hinges on discussions about the role of “extremism” in the alienation of British Muslims and the subsequent emergence of terrorist threats. Interviews with British North Africans who are Islamists and former jihadis into violent radicalization showed that there are clear distinctions between “terrorists” and Islamists. However, the current thinking does not account for the diversity of those labelled as “extremist” and incorrectly assesses their threats to community cohesion and/or security, hindering the potential for improved civic dialogues.

 
 

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